Monday, 29 August 2011

Be a vegetarian, keep cancer at bay 
HYDERABAD: Let your plate be colourful. Fill it with fruits and vegetables. This piece of advice comes from Dr Kalpagam Polasa, head of the Food and Drug Toxicology Research Centre, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, who added that fruits and vegetables could be the protection needed against cardiovascular diseases and several types of cancers.

Dr Polasa gave a talk on 'Nutrition - the role of vegetables and fruits in chronic disorders' during the golden jubilee regional symposium-2011 of the National Academy of Medical Sciences (India) in Hyderabad on Friday.
While fruits and vegetables are a part of the weight loss diets, they are also rich source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. "Five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables per day per person are highly desirable," said Dr Polasa who has 85 papers published in national and international journals to his credit.

"People go to doctors for a find-and-fix cure. More importantly one should concentrate on sticking to healthy diet to prevent diseases," she said, saying that 500 gms of fruits are a must for consumption everyday, while fats, oils and sweets should be avoided.

Dr Polasa said there were epidemiological data supporting the association between the high intake of vegetables and fruits and low risk of chronic diseases.

A diet rich in vegetables and fruits not only may provide protection against cardiovascular diseases and several common cancers but also against Type 2 diabetes, arthritis, immunological disorders and obesity. Experiments conducted at the National Institute of Nutrition also point to the fact.

Fruits and vegetables like apples, pears, citrus fruits, grapes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, green leafy vegetables, onions and strawberries are all recommended as part of a healthy diet.

It was pointed out that out of the 156 dietary studies reported, 82 per cent demonstrated that the consumption of fruits and vegetables, provided significant protection against cancer. Fruits and vegetables are effective against epithelial cancers such as cancer of lung, cervix, esophagus, stomach, colon and pancreas.

Dr Kalpagam Polasa also pointed out that though nutraceuticals or food supplements are available in the market, one should ideally go in for consumption of fresh produce.

A paper submitted at the seminar by Prof P Krishnam Raju, cardiologist, Chairman, Care Foundation, Care Hospitals, Hyderabad also brought out interesting facts pertaining to the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases among the rural population. It was found that cardiovascular diseases were the leading causes of mortality -- 34 per cent of all deaths -- in Andhra Pradesh, where a comprehensive survey was conducted during field trips. The survey revealed that risk factors and cardiovascular death rates were surprisingly high in villages, a discovery with important public health ramifications.

In his keynote address, NIN director Dr B Sesikeran said the complications of diabetes, heart diseases and lipid disorder were difficult to treat. "Primary prevention by maintenance of the energy balance and adequate physical activity is a much better option," he said.

Drive to catch stray animals ineffective
VARANASI: The Varanasi Nagar Nigam usually launches drives to catch the stray animals, especially pigs, ahead of Eid every year. This year again, the VNN officials have claimed that such a drive has been launched. However, the Varanasi Nagar Nigam is surprisingly clueless about the population of stray pigs as well as number of their owners living in the city areas.

According to city health officer of VNN, S K Singh, the drive to catch the stray pigs has been launched mainly in the areas near mosques and prayer assemblies. However, when questioned, he had no idea about how many animals have been caught so far. The ignorance is worrying as the VNN is supposed to maintain a record of pigs and their owners. The exercise ensures that none of the owners were leaving their animals on roads during the festivities.

Further, Singh admitted, there was not any fixed place to keep the stray pigs after catching them on the roads. ''Whenever pigs are caught and nobody turns up to claim them, the animals are released in villages or jungles on the city outskirts. On the other hand, if the owner turns up to make a claim, the pigs are returned to them, after providing guidelines for future and on paying a fine of Rs 500 per animal,'' said S K Singh.

Moreover, despite claims of a drive, a number of stray animals can be seen on the roads in localities like Nirala Nagar and Madhopur (situated just behind the VNN office). Besides, stray animals can be seen in Beniya Park, Pandeypur and Ravindrapuri area, lying in mud and rain water. The VNN has reportedly employed only one catcher for the drive. This indicates an apathy to health concerns of the citizens.

My take

The article highlights only one aspect of the menace created by pig owners. These pigs are owned by particular local communities. They are left to fend for themselves from the garbage. There are many cruel practices followed by these pig owners. One of which is, the young male pig’s testicles are chopped without giving them anesthesia or medical care. Most of the times sharp edge of broken glass is used for this procedure. The pig squeals in pain but there is no remorse on the owner’s face. In fact they seem to get pleasure out of this torture. It has been observed that the young boys from the community are given this job. One can imagine the adverse effect this practice has on the mind of these young boys too. This nuisance is created by pig owners but the innocent pigs are always at the receiving end.

Friday, 26 August 2011

UGC calls for stop to dissection of animals

New Delhi, Aug. 24: The UGC has adopted fresh guidelines to phase out dissection of and experimentation on live animals in zoology and life science courses.

In a July 8 meeting, the higher education regulator accepted an expert panel’s recommendations for immediate reduction in use of animal species for dissection and use of computer-simulated models in its place.

 Frog dissection software
The committee was headed by H.A. Ranganath, the director of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council.The UGC guidelines are, however, recommendatory in nature and will not apply to medical studies. They will shortly be sent to colleges and universities for adoption.
“The UGC guidelines are recommendatory in nature. We hope the institutions will adopt the guidelines,” an official said. The minutes of the UGC meeting said the commission had dwelt on the expert panel’s recommendation “to consider discontinuation of dissection and experiments on live animals in zoology/life sciences”.
“The commission further decided that simulation of experiments be encouraged in the institution of higher education and resources necessary for the implementation of this recommendation may be allocated during the XII plan period.”

Ranganath said the panel had recommended several models for discontinuation of dissection and experiments on animals. At the undergraduate level, students would be advised not to do any dissection. But faculty could use one species for demonstration purposes.

At the postgraduate level, students would have the option of dissecting select species. But institutions would be advised to work on development of computer-simulated models as an alternative.

“You cannot stop dissection of animals in labs overnight. It has to be done in a phased manner. We have recommended different models,” Ranganath told The Telegraph.

He said the new guidelines would not affect the quality of education in zoology and life sciences. Rather, they would address concerns expressed by cross sections of the academic community and the public about torture of animals.

BJP MP Maneka Gandhi had cited the provisions of the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972, and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and sought a ban on dissection of animals. The UGC then set up the committee under Ranganath to consider if the practice could be scrapped.

The committee has also suggested that all institutions set up dissection-monitoring committees. Academic Yashpal has, however, disagreed with the UGC. “Dissection is a world-wide practice, including the US and Europe. You should not discontinue it completely but you should reduce the number of animals being used for dissection.”
Citing the example of animals being used for clinical trials, he said the practice was required to develop medicine for human beings. “Cruelty to animal cannot be the reason to ban such trials. Then you block development of medicines,” Yashpal said.

Animal sacrifice to celebrate?

HYDERABAD: During the holy month, Muslims parade a camel through streets before it is sacrificed on the first Friday of Ramadan in Hyderabad.Though illegal, this tradition has been happening in the city for quite some time now. Camel meat is considered to be a delicacy.These camels are brought into the city from Rajasthan, especially for this season. They are fed sumptuously before they are chopped down.
The various camel delicacies include the camel meat sheek, chops and paya. Syed Abdul Khadir, a resident of Kachiguda says, “This whole concept of camel sacrifice has been set by our Lord. We perform this mainly during Bakrid and we also follow this tradition during Ramzan.” He further adds that, “Many people make a lot of prior arrangements for bringing the camels from places like Rajasthan, after which we say our prayers and then the camel is cut.

It’s like a feast for us at the beginning of the festival.” Though there has not been a widespread protest over this issue, there are a few organisations, which have raised their voice against this.

One such organisation is People For Animals. Talking about the protest over this issue, Vasanthi Vadi, founder secretary, People For Animals, Hyderabad, alleges, “This particular camel sacrifice is not just violating the animal rights act, but it is also violating the GHMC act, which says one can kill animals for food only in slaughter houses, designated by the GHMC and not on the streets.

 Camel sacrifice in Kashmir

When there is a law, and when the government has introduced it, everyone must respect and follow it.” She further adds, “These animals are not transported, but are walked down from far off places and extreme climatic conditions.This is not suitable for animals, and it should not be acceptable by any of us.

We should learn to value our animals as well.” “We are very much against the issue and have complained to the higher authorities, the wildlife department and also the police. But, no action has been taken yet. The issue is being shelved off, labelling it as a communal and a sensitive issue and prone to riots,” she says.
But, according to Vineet Brijlal, deputy commissioner of police, South Zone, no such event was reported to him. However, the veterinary doctors do feel that people should get over these customs and beliefs for protecting animals. Dr Anjaiah, deputy director at a super speciality veterinary clinic says, “It is not good to sacrifice animals for some old beliefs and traditions.
People should stop killing animals as a reason to celebrate over them.”

PETA India uncovers barbaric elephant training in Nepal

An animal rights group has released evidence of how baby elephants in Nepal are cruelly trained to give rides to tourists.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India released video footage and photographs taken during an undercover investigation showing elephants in Nepal being abused by trainers.

Elephants are taken from their mothers at the age of two, chained and immobilised and reportedly spend several days crying and struggling to get free. 

The calves are then trained in order to give rides - this involves being hit and prodded with sticks and being subjected to loud noises. Flaming torches are brushed against the calves' faces, trunks, legs and bodies. The investigation also revealed that the animals' flesh is often punctured by the chains, restrainers and iron nails that are used to restrict their movement. 

Many elephants have open wounds on their foreheads as a result of sustained beatings with sticks, while any attempts to retreat from frightening situations will result in further attacks.

An estimated 35,000 British tourists visited Nepal last year, many of whom will have unwittingly supported this treatment by taking elephant rides and paying for performances with the animals. The number of Brits travelling to Nepal is expected to rise as the Nepalese embassy in London continues its high-profile publicity campaign to boost tourism from the UK as part of the National Tourism Year 2011 programme.

PETA's US affiliate has also obtained video footage of abuse by trainers in Thailand who repeatedly gouged the flesh of baby elephants until the immobilised animals bled profusely and screamed out in pain.

'Anna Hazare, please spare the donkeys' 
MUMBAI: While the people's movement against corruption enters a critical stage, the animal activists have urged Anna Hazare to immediately intervene and save the poor donkeys from being harassed at various ongoing rallies. A letter written by Federation of Indian Animals Protection Organisations (FIAPO) has stated that in India there are approximately 1.6 million donkeys which are largely used to do hard labour.

FIAPO has requested Anna Hazare to help stop the further harassment towards animals like donkeys that are being ridiculed by protesters with a bad and cruel sense of humour. A Lucknow based activist, Kamna Trivedi, had posted an update on Facebook stating that she was sickened to see anti-corruption activists dragging a few donkeys at a procession and also slapping the poor animals for no fault of theirs. The donkeys were somehow made out to be ``symbols of corrupt officials and politicians'' at the rallies, which is rather cruel and senseless.

Another Hazare supporter at Mumbai had actually used an elephant to display a giant poster against Corruption, and for the Lokpal Bill. However, elephants have been legally banned from the Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane regions by the Bombay High Court, after it was known that elephants are exploited by their mahouts to beg on the streets.

The full letter of FIAPO addressed to Hazare is below


Shri Anna Hazare
Ramlila Maidan
New Delhi

Respected Sir,

I write to you from FIAPO is India's umbrella animal welfare body concerned with the protection and welfare of all animals, with hundreds of members and colleagues across the country. On behalf of our constituency - comprising of several animal protection organisations and thousands of sympathisers - we would like to reiterate that we wholeheartedly support your crusade. Corruption most affects the disempowered and there is perhaps none more disempowered than animals.

During the past few days of your fast, where millions of us have been following you and praying and fighting with you, something very disturbing was brought to FIAPO's attention. A few among millions of your ardent followers, in the heated, emotionally charged environment are disrupting and harming the very essence of your fast - to do away with corruption so that the common man doesn't suffer, common man here being, the oppressed and the voiceless, which, of course, includes the animals of this country.

Recently, while watching a rally held in one part of the country, we noticed that a few people, definitely with good intentions of standing up against corruption, were using donkeys as objects to mock at corrupt officials. This action only serves to encourage the belief that donkeys are objects of ridicule and derision instead of what they actually are - innocent, hard working animals who truly bear the burden of the world on their back with little kindness shown to them.

India is home to approximately 1.6 million donkeys. Donkeys in India have long suffered and have been the objects of scorn because of superstition and ignorance. Since ancient times, they have been victimized for their uncomplaining nature. People who closely work with these animals report that donkeys are very intelligent, cautious, friendly, playful, and eager to learn. In fact, they make great companion animals because of these same characteristics.

The donkeys used in the protest rally were undoubtedly terrified and confused. Imagine being surrounded by lights, cameras and shouting protestors and reporters and not having any understanding of what is happening. Further, the donkeys used in this stunt had no vote in the matter. It is unfair for those who fight corruption and injustice to use animals to garner attention for their campaigns.

We respectfully beseech you to ask your followers not to use animals during protests, rallies or processions.

In fellowship with the cause of eradicating corruption and with deep respect for your personal courage,

Yours sincerely,

Arpan Sharma
Chief Executive Officer
Federation of Indian Animals Protection Organisations.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Cow bacteria strain may pose health hazard in India

Milk could be the biggest villain for Indians as the country stares into a bacterial time bomb nestling in its vast dairy sector, most of it unorganised.
Unidentified bacteria that are resistant to any form of antibiotics have been found in the udders of cows in England, Scotland, Ireland and Germany. But there is no way to establish how many cows in the huge, unaccounted and unorganised dairy sector in India are afflicted by this bacteria that can transfer from cows to humans to infect them.

According to researchers from University of Cambridge’s Veterinary School (that first found the mutant strain and published it in Lancet Infectious Diseases journal on June 3) and Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (that decoded the bacteria’s DNA), infection caused among humans by this bacteria is not fatal but could pose a public health hazard if it spreads. Globally, scientists have not yet found a method to detect these bacteria; nor do they know to what extent the global cattle population is affected by them.

This is disturbing for India. A report ‘Technology Export Potential of Milk and Dairy Sector’ by Technology Export Development Organisation (TEDO), a joint initiative of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), states that one of the major threats faced by the Indian dairy industry is the poor microbiological quality (presence of bacteria) of milk.

The newly-found bacterial strains have a mutated genetic makeup that help them evade detection by the standard molecular tests that are currently used to identify a range of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)—a class of ‘superbug’ antibiotic-resistant bacteria responsible for hospital infections, which this newly found genetic mutant bacterium also belongs to.

Dr VVS Suryanarayana, principal scientist, Molecular Virology Lab, Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Bangalore, who is currently engaged in developing tests for detection of mastitis (a bacterial infection occurring in the cows’ udders), told DNA: “If such bacteria enter our cattle stock, it will be disastrous. We need to determine the extent of mastitic strains in cows. We have to develop a test, and it is essential for us to do so.”

In fact, work is going on at Veterinary College, Bangalore, under Karnataka Veterinary, Animal & Fisheries Sciences University, to test the sensitivity of local bacterial samples—that can cause infections in cows’ udders—to antibiotics. But due to lack of a detection kit to identify the new bovine MRSA strain, no one knows whether Indian cows are infected or not. 

Parthi Bhatol, chairman, Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation, which markets Amul products across India, said: “I haven’t heard of any such unidentified bacteria that are resistant to any form of antibiotics. If such bacteria are found, science will find some solution to it.”

Tranquillisers prove deadly to zoo animals

HYDERABAD: In the past five months, 28 wild or zoo animals have died while being handled by staff of three zoos in the state - Tirupati, Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad. Last year, the number of deaths was 68. These deaths include zoo animals as well as those that had to be captured after they strayed into human habitations. One of the main reasons for these deaths? Many zoo keepers and staff aren't trained well enough to know the right dosage when they tranquilise the animals.

Of the 68 fatalities that occurred last year, 39 were due to botched tranquilisation. These included 12 tigers, 10 lions, 3 elephants and 5 bears that were being taken for a health check-up within the zoo, said the director of AP zoos, P Mallikarjun Rao. "It is true that officials sometimes inject inaccurate doses of the anaesthetic or dart them at the wrong spots."

Animals have to be tranquilised because they get nervous during transportation. The more ferocious animals are tranquillised to calm them down.

Multiple organ failure due to senility is another major cause of zoo deaths. Out of the 68 fatalities last year, 29 were doe to senility, old age, cage shock and disease.

To shore up the handling skills of zoo staff, Nehru Zoo in Hyderabad organised a training programme for its staff officials. 

They were trained in handling of tranquiliser guns and guaging the correct dosage required as per the weight of the animal, said AP chief wildlife warden Hitesh Malhotra. 

Dr M A Hakeem, the vet at the Nehru Zoo admitted that keepers are not well-educated and possess little knowledge of the science of handling animals. "Some of the zoo-keepers are just class VII pass. There is also a need for well-trained zoo beat officers," he said.

Zoo director Mallikarjuna Rao admits there is a pressing need to reduce the mortality rates in the state's zoos. Accordingly, veterinary hospitals with in-patient wards and expert vets are planned to be set up in zoos.
The three zoos in the state are home to around 4,100 species. To cater to this animal population and maintain hygienic conditions, zoos need sufficient, trained and educated animal-keepers, gardeners and other officials, he said.

Prohibit import, sale, use of glue traps: Animal welfare board

PUNE: In response to a petition by the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations (FIAPO), Major General R M Kharb, chairman of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has issued a circular asking the chief secretaries of state governments and the director general of foreign trade to prohibit sale, manufacture, use and import of glue traps.

Glue traps, also known as glue boards or sticky traps, are a type of non-lethal or restraining rodent traps that are used mostly to trap rats and mice. The animals are caught in the trap by their feet or fur and these attached animals are thrown away still stuck to the trap, and cannot escape. They endure a prolonged period of terror, pain and distress before death. Their desperate efforts to escape from the trap result in torn skin and broken legs while some even try to bite through their limbs in an attempt to get away. Other birds and animals can also end up in these traps and then suffer a similar fate.

Mice stuck on a glue trap

"The use of glue traps for controlling rats and rodents is in contravention of the provisions contained in Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960"; said Major General R M Kharb, chairman of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI).

"We are grateful to the Animal Welfare Board of India and we certainly expect that the state governments and the DGFT will issue appropriate orders"; said Arpan Sharma, chief executive officer of FIAPO . "Stores, manufactures, importers, pest control agencies and consumers who continue to sell, manufacture, import and use glue traps must be prosecuted under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act," Sharma said.

AWBI is a statutory body of the Government of India established in 1962 under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960. It has been constituted to promote animal welfare in general and for protecting animals from being subjected to unnecessary pain and suffering. At present, AWBI works under the Ministry of Environment and Forests,
FIAPO is India's umbrella animal welfare body concerned with the protection and welfare of all animals, with hundreds of members and colleagues across the country.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Action against culling of animals

BANGALORE: The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) stated has that action will be initiated against culling of animals.

BBMP Commissioner Siddaiah has ordered not to cull any animals like cow and camels during Ramzan. Anyone found involving in such act will be subjected to stringent action under Karnataka Prevention of Animal Sacrifice Act 1959, a press release said

Activists demand action against animal performances

CHENNAI: Animal lovers are demanding strict action against people using monkeys as performing animals. Last week, Blue Cross volunteers rescued five monkeys with the help of city police from Marina beach.

Nanditha Krishna, director of CPR Environmental Research Centre, said the environment ministry had recently added monkeys and bulls to the list of animals that could not be used for performances. "Animals used for the performances and festivals undergo cruel training. Taking action against such practices will raise awareness among the public who watch monkey performances on the beaches," said Krishna. 

Monkey performing in a street show

On Tuesday evening, the Blue Cross received a call from people who saw a group carrying monkeys. Don Williams, a volunteer, said, "We informed the Marina beach police station and when we reached the spot along with police, the four monkey handlers disappeared leaving the monkeys behind." Passersby helped them catch the panic-stricken monkeys. "The animals were later handed over to forest officials," said Williams. 
Though the notification from the Centre bans use of bears, bulls, panthers, monkeys, lions and tigers in performances, animal lovers want elephants included on the list as well. Bulls were most recently added to the list of animals banned from performances. "We take necessary action when we receive a complaint about animal performances," said a senior wildlife and forest department official.

Intolerable tales of bovine cruelty

At a time when the new draft Bill on Animal Welfare is pending clearance, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has come out with shocking tales torture meted out to bovines across the country.

Some of its brutal findings include jabbing of sharp wires or metal rods into the necks of these animals to control them. Piercing the noses of the young calves and passing thick ropes to yank them even as they writhe in pain is another example of such brutality. In States like Maharashtra, both bulls and ponies are often hitched to a single cart. This results in injury to both of them since their sizes are different and they can’t pull the cart with same strength

“Worse still, the bullocks are ‘fired’ or blistered for ‘curing’ lameness or arthritis. The affected muscles, bones or joints are treated with red hot iron or with caustic chemicals such as mercuric iodide or copper sulphate to scald the area without any analgesia or anaesthesia,” informed Dr Manilal Valliyate, Director of Veterinary Affairs, PETA India.

In a major drive against such atrocities across the country, PETA has confiscated “instruments” of torture from various States. These would soon be displayed before the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF). The PETA has demanded the passage of the pending Animal Welfare Bill 2011 at the earliest. The proposed Act is expected to provide stronger penalties for cruelty to animals and ensure better protection to animals.

In a bid to offer relief to such animals PETA has founded the Animal Rahat for free professional veterinary treatment and emergency care to ill or injured animals being forced to work, in such compelling circumstances.

According to Dr Sudheesh Nair, Programme Manager, Animal Rahat maximum exploitation of livestock occurs in large numbers in States like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar etc.

As per the the last livestock census conducted by PETA, the owners use specially made whips to inflict pain and egg on the animal. The animals were also found to be branded using hot iron (hot branding) or using cold iron (freeze branding) for their individual recognition. The process kills skin tissues and causes excruciating pain, he noted.

“However, one of the most shocking forms of torture is hitching different animals or differently sized animals, which often leads to injuries on neck and lameness,” said Valliyate. In bull racing which still happens to be a favourite sport in certain states, the bulls are often beaten mercilessly with wooden sticks spiked with nails in order to get them to run faster in the sweltering heat. The bulls’ tails are painfully twisted, and they are left spattered in blood.

While Animal Rahat is spreading awareness in the states amongst stake holders on awareness of against cruelty of animals it is also educating people on hands-on direct actions to prevent such atrocities.

Animal rights activist support fight against corruption

Bhopal: People in Madhya Pradesh are leaving no stone unturned to pledge their support for Anna Hazare. While Wednesday saw his supporters scaling floodlight towers, some animal-lovers took out a procession yesterday with cows, dogs and goats!

On the fourth day of Anna Hazare's fast, people in Bhopal donated blood as a gesture of support for the India Against Corruption agitation. Elsewhere, about a hundred children dressed to resemble Anna Hazare sang Hum honge kaamyab [We shall overcome].

It seemed almost surreal when a timid-looking four-year-old, Udit, suddenly shouted: "Anna ladai kar rahe hain corruption ke khilaf... hum unke sath hai [Anna is fighting against corruption. We are with him]."

Moreover, autorickshaw drivers also did not ply on roads as a sign of support for Hazare.
Lawyers continued with their demonstrations by forming human chain on roads in the state's capital Bhopal.

In Narsinghpur, members of animal welfare organisation People for Animals held a march with cows, dogs and goats.

However, when Bharatiya Janata Party ward commissioners of Indore Municipal Corporation started shouting slogans inside the house, it irked Congress ward commissioners and they presented a garbage bouquet to the mayor and pointed out that the city was full of garbage while corporation members were raising slogans against graft.

Pune: Nearly 1,500 citizens formed a kilometre-long human chain on the Mahatma Gandhi (MG) Road on Saturday to express their solidarity with social activist Anna Hazare’s fight against corruption movement.

The otherwise busy MG Road was coloured in tricolour, as Anna’s supporters shouted slogans holding the national flags and wearing Gandhi topis.

The human chain, which began at the Aurora Towers at 5pm, stretched till the Bata Chowk in two hours with more people joining in.
“We had planned the human chain at a very short notice. But the response has exceeded our expectations. This shows the enthusiasm of the people,” said activist Vinita Deshmukh.

According to Deshmukh, people were informed through Facebook after an impromptu decision was taken to organise the human chain. 

“The indifferent attitude of the people has changed to a proactive one. Hence, events like these give people an opportunity to vent their anger and frustration against corruption,” she said.

The enthusiasm and zest of the young and the old were palpable, as they shouted slogans like ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ with gusto.

Major (retd) RS Bhatnagar, who participated in the human chain along with his family, said that he supports the Jan Lokpal Bill. 

“The rampant corruption in the country needs to be curbed with iron hand. We have come out on the streets to voice our support to Anna in a peaceful manner,” he said.

Most people in the human chain said that they were at the receiving end of corruption and hence wanted to protest. 

Amruta Ubale, an animal activist who participated in the rally with her friends, told DNA, “The animal rights movements too have been hampered by corruption. Corruption has vitiated the various sections of society and we want to cleanse it.”

As the human chain was held on only one side of the road, vehicular traffic was not disrupted and 15 policemen could easily manage the crowd.